I was just wondering if one was lucky enough to join a college team is it hard to keep up with studies and competing? The teams seem to do a lot of traveling. Do most kids end up doing a lot of course work over the summer?
Not surprisingly, your mileage may vary depending upon major and school. I can only speak from our daughter's experience. She is a double major at a small liberal arts college, made Dean's list both semesters, made First Team USAG All-American this year, and is spending a couple of weeks this summer in Australia before competing in Israel. A teammate of hers is pre-med, had a hard time making all the practices and didn't get much playing time.
My guess is that a gymnast competing at an Ivy like Yale or Penn, or a public Ivy like Cal, UCLA or Michigan might have a tougher time keeping up with everything than a student going to an academically less-rigorous program. The NCAA 20 hour/week cap helps a lot. Most gymnasts are used to going to gym much more than 20 hours a week (don't forget to include the commute time) so the transition isn't as hard as you might think. Also, gymnasts, like all athletes, get perks like tutoring and preferential class scheduling that also helps.
Can't speak from experience, but many of these girls were top students before going to college. One girl graduating with my older daughter is getting a full ride gym scholarship, competed as a L10 from 9th grade on(1 yr off due to injury) and also got an award for straight As all semesters in high school. I think most of these girls have learned how to balance school, gym, travel to meets etc. before hitting a college campus. Of course, college is different and there is no parent bugging you to get work done.
Alot of variables as Pogo pointed out----type of college attending, major(the sciences can be tough to juggle), staying focused----balancing a reasonable college life with sports.
BTW--Huge congrats Pogo, to your dd. Sounds like a great girl!
I know this thread is a few weeks old, but I thought I could add some insight as an NCAA gymnast myself.
Some things to consider: Athletes at Div. I schools get lots of extra benefits regarding academics. Free tutors, study sessions, a special study center only for athletes, etc are all "extras" that are available to NCAA athletes.
More people are invested in said athlete's success in school, and therefore are more willing to offer help in academic areas. At my university, all freshmen athletes are required to meet with their athletic academic advisor once per week for their entire first year. This is on top of any meetings they may have with their normal academic advisor (specific to their major).
Depending on the school (and it obviously varies within each school depending on the specific professor), extensions on assignments or papers are easy to request and receive as student athletes. This is particularly true if the athlete has made an attempt to introduce him or herself to his/her instructors.
Finally, travel dates are known well in advance, as are most assignments, tests, quizzes, etc. As long as the athlete takes responsibilty for his/herself in time management and planning, it is not difficult to maintain a good GPA and excel in athletics.
PS: if anyone has any specific questions, feel free to ask. I'll do my best to answer.
My guess is that a gymnast competing at an Ivy like Yale or Penn, or a public Ivy like Cal, UCLA or Michigan might have a tougher time keeping up with everything than a student going to an academically less-rigorous program.
My experience with being a college athlete (pole vault) was that it really wasn't any worse than high school. The big difference in college is you are spending much less time IN the classroom than you were in HS. Many college students struggle because they don't have good study habits and don't know how to properly use their free time. Most gymnasts have already learned how to have good study habits, plus the hours in the gym for a college gymnast are generally less than when they were a club gymnast. I would imagine that most college gymnasts find both the school and training load less strenuous than HS, unless they choose a really demanding major.
Travel is not usually a major detriment as long as you are on top of your studies and communicating with your professors. I never really had professors that gave extensions to athletes, but you could usually take tests and turn stuff in early.
As others have mentioned, the academic resources given to athletes at major schools are a big help as well.
Last year was my first year of college and I was a walk on. I didn't make the competition roster so I did not travel with the team but I trained with them. It's definitely hard work, we practice about 4 hours for 5 days a week. On top of that we have class. Luckily there aren't a ton of meets on a college gymnastic schedule so traveling isn't as hard as a sport like basketball. Still it's very important to let all your professors know (my school's athletic department sends out letters to all your professors) and make sure you do all tests and papers in advance. All the athletes have to meet with the Athletic Academic Advisors and all freshmen have study hall that is mandatory. Depending on your grades you either continue doing this or it's not necessary. On top of that you can have tutors that the athletic department provides. I also met with disability student services once a week. It was definitely hard work but colleges usually give you all the tools you need to help. You just have to be disciplined and work hard for it to all work out. Hope this helps